WBO orders Terence Crawford to defend welterweight title against Shawn Porter

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After years of demands he step up his level of competition to match his elite-level skills, Terence “Bud” Crawford may finally have lined up an opponent who clears the bar set by so many fans and media members. The World Boxing Organization has ordered that Crawford defend his welterweight title against former champion Shawn Porter.

The ball is now in the court of Top Rank, which promotes Crawford, and Premier Boxing Champions, which promotes Porter. The sides have 30 days to iron out a deal or else the fight goes to purse bid.

Crawford’s association with Top Rank has actually kept him from fighting most of the high-profile names in the welterweight division as Porter, Manny Pacquiao, Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia and, most importantly, Errol Spence Jr. are all under contract with PBC. This has left Crawford — an undeniable top pound-for-pound talent — struggling to market himself in fights against lower quality opponents while he waited for either the two promotions to work out a deal or ride out his Top Rank contract with fans hoping he would make a move to PBC in pursuit of legacy-defining fights.

Rumors swirled before this announcement by the WBO that Top Rank was looking to book Crawford against one of their rising fighters, like recently crowned undisputed junior welterweight champ Josh Taylor. ESPN’s Mike Coppinger reports that Crawford was offered a fight with veteran David Avanesyan on Oct. 23.

The WBO have forced the hand of the camps, however, by leaving Crawford with the choice to take the fight or vacate his title, while Porter will no doubt agree to an opportunity for a third run as world champion.

Porter won the IBF welterweight belt in December 2013, picking up a decision win over Devon Alexander before losing the belt two fights later after a majority decision to Kell Brook. A unanimous decision over Danny Garcia in September 2018 kicked off Porter’s second stint as world champion, securing the WBC title he’d go on to lose by split decision in a thriller with Spence.

Crawford is a perfect 37-0 and has been fighting in world championship bouts since 2014. He has, however, never fought a top-tier opponent who was near his prime, especially while at welterweight.

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